Thanksgiving Day or just Thanksgiving is one of the American national holidays that is celebrated every fourth Thursday of November. It also starts the holiday season that includes Christmas and the New Year. First Thanksgiving was nationally celebrated in 1789; it became the federal annual holiday in 1863. According to the history, the holiday was created by Pilgrims who celebrated their first harvest in the New World with the participation of Native Americans.
There are several Thanksgiving traditions. People take part in charity (gathering and giving food to the poor, mainly), cook turkey and give thanks for achieved benefits. The holiday becomes a busy day and includes different types of preparations.
People may want to decorate outer and inner surfaces of their houses for the celebration. Wreath of fruit and vegetables is a common choice for exterior decorations. However, such object won’t have a long life. More durable wreaths can be made from the grapevine decorated with small gourds, dried flowers and ribbons.
Similar materials are used for indoor decorations. The list can be complemented by the Indian corn, fabric, dried leaves, tea lights, vases and baskets. If there is a fireplace in the house, its mantels becomes the perfect surface for decoration. Remember it should be clean before the things’ arrangement. One or several pieces of fabric are used as a basis for decorations. The last choice gives an opportunity to experiment with colors. For example, person can use the red fabric in the center and put lighter orange pieces on each side. Or decorator can leave the mantel without a cover and just arrange vases with leaves and flowers, pumpkins (real or artificial) and other decorations on its top. The main requirement is to create an image of the autumn harvest.
Thanksgiving menus differ depending up the family. However, there are several basic dishes. The list includes baked stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn, pumpkin cake and pecan pie. This is a huge amount of food that should be cooked and stored for some time. It means a woman needs to prepare her kitchen long before the holiday. She needs a clean oven, working fridge, sharp knives, organized pantry and full set of spices. Experts advise to start preparations at least about a week before the Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a day when all family gathers around the table, even if its members live far away from each other. People offer prayers to the Lord and eat together. Parades are the other basic tradition; there is a suggestion they are staged since the Thanksgiving was proclaimed as an official day. People also traditionally watch NFL football games this day.
Turkey isn’t only the main dish, but also a source for another tradition. Two people can use its wishbone to make a wish (chicken or other bird can be used in this ritual too). There is a belief the wish will come true if the person will break off the bigger part of the bone.